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Morbidities and “The Concept of The New Literature”

Ramón Gómez de la Serna (Introduction and Translation from Spanish by Nicolás Fernández-Medina)

Ramón Gómez de la Serna (1888-1963) was one of Spain’s most gifted avant-gardists. Oftentimes remembered as the inventor of the greguería—a type of witty and humorous epigram that recasts the commonplace and absurdities of everyday reality—he was a prolific writer and published dozens of novels, essays, short stories, articles, editorials, and biographies throughout his life. Two of his major works—the autobiography Morbidities (1908), and the manifesto “The Concept of the New Literature” (1909)—belong to his earliest period of experimentation. These two early works are of singular importance not only in understanding his development as an avant-gardist, but also in analyzing Spanish literature within the broader framework of European avant-garde culture. With prescient clarity, they highlight many of the aesthetic notions that would revolutionize experimental literature throughout the modernist period. This book offers the first complete English translation of Morbidities and “The Concept of the New Literature,” and it introduces anglophone readers to some of Gómez de la Serna’s most passionate ideas about modernity and “new literature.”

About the Author

Nicolás Fernández-Medina is Professor of Modern Spanish Literature in the Department of Romance Studies at Boston University. He specializes in late eighteenth- to early twentieth-century Spanish literature, philosophy, and culture.  His books include Life Embodied: The Promise of Vital Force in Spanish Modernity (2018), Modernism and the Avant-garde Body in Spain and Italy (co-edited, 2016), and The Poetics of Otherness in Antonio Machado’s ‘Proverbios y cantares’ (2011). He is currently working on a monograph titled Raising the Dead: The Science and Literature of Resuscitation in Spain. He is also General Managing Editor of Brill’s A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Iberian Peninsula (4 vols.)

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Published: August 2024

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Literature
Modernism

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Modernist Constellations